The New York Times may have named the fiddle leaf fig the new “it” plant of the design world, and it’s true that the lush, emerald plant has become a staple décor element of chic restaurants and boutiques. But for those lacking in the green thumb department, the fiddle leaf fig—or any houseplant that requires regular watering, grooming, alternating light, and re-potting every few years—can be a daunting commitment. Let’s face it: nothing serves as a bitter reminder of failed responsibilities and the unbearable weight of mortality quite like a dead house plant, silently judging you as it withers away in the corner.
How, then, to create a green and airy room in an urban, brutalist world? How to create a manageable, healthy indoor garden that thrives in the face of accidental negligence?
Look no further than the air plant. These evergreen perennial flowering plants come from the genus Tilllandsia. There are over six hundred and fifty species in total, and they are native to Central and South America, the southern United States, and the West Indies. As the rather obvious name might suggest, the air plant does not require rooting in soil; the plant absorbs water and nutrients through its leaves. Some species of Tillandsia will bloom on occasion, producing vibrant, sometimes fragrant flowers.
While air plants are quite low maintenance compared to ordinary houseplants, they do require some care. A mister is especially useful for air plants, as too much water on the leaves can cause them to rot. They generally prefer bright, indirect sunlight.
These little wonders of the botanical world are a low-key, low-fuss décor idea that will keep your room feeling summery and green all year round. And since last year we brought you some of our favourite planters, this summer we’re focusing specifically on the terrarium, the perfect way to turn your home in into a thriving garden.